Monday, December 11, 2023

Tea Review: Yame Gyokuro (Charaku)

Yame Gyokuro
Type: Green
Origin: Japan, Fukuoka Prefecture, Yame, Hoshino Village
Product Description: 
This special blend of cultivars infuses from a light golden-green on the first infusion to a rich emerald green on the second infusion. it starts with a marine air fragrance, which fades in later infusions. The first infusion has a full mouth feel and smooth texture with plenty of umami and buttery and slightly salty notes and a warm grassy finish. Later infusions continue smooth with umami and increasing amami (sweetness) and decreasing astringency.

Good gyokuro is often compared to a fine dashi (broth) and this tea is full in the mouth with an herbaceous, sweet, and slight marine flavors. A low temperature is needed to bring out the "amami," or sweetness, and low astringency for which gyokuro is known. The Yame region of Fukuoka Prefecture on Japan's southern island of Kyushu is known for producing high quality, but a relatively limited amount, of sencha and gyokuro. The region consistently produces gyokuro that wins awards at Japanese national tea competitions. A person living in Tokyo would find it a real treat to enjoy this fine tea. You can now have it here in North America.
Temperature: 145-155° F
Amount: 3 grams
Steeping Time: 30 seconds-3 minutes

The dry leaf aroma is savory and nutty with green grass and almost salty broth-like notes.

The liquor is pale green with a lightly nutty and green aroma.  The taste is savory with umami and nutty with green notes in back that move forward after the first sip and a light, refreshing green finish.

For the purpose of this review, I prepared this gyokuro using the provided instructions with a 3 minute initial steep using 155° F water, followed by a 1 minute second steep using 155° F water, and then a 30 second third steep using 155° F water.  The tea was rich with umami and the fresh green taste of spring.  While a hint of astringency was waiting in the periphery, it didn't have a chance to develop thanks to the thoughtful brewing instructions and I was able to fully enjoy more than 3 pleasantly savory infusions.  

This tea was purchased by me.

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